Poll: Older Millennials Disinterested in Running for Political Office

Poll: Older Millennials Disinterested in Running for Political Office Poll: Older Millennials Disinterested in Running for Political Office Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a baby boomers who is running as a Democrat mayoral candidate, appears in Flushing, Queens to open a new campaign office on June 8, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 09 June 2021 12:50 PM

Older millennials are disinterested in running for political office, according to a poll conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CNBC released Wednesday.

Just 12% of respondents aged 33 to 40 say they have already run for public office or "definitely plan" to do so, far fewer than other generations. An April survey conducted by the Harris Poll found that one nearly one-third of Gen Z respondents (ages 18-24) say they "definitely plan" to run for office or have already done so while 25% of younger millennials (25-32) and Gen X (41-56) said the same.

"This generation is burnt out — from moving up in the workforce to paying off student loans to buying a home and raising children," Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema told CNBC. "Trying to balance all of these pressures while maintaining some semblance of a social life — that extra role as a school board or city council member might be a bridge too far."

For many, the benefits of running for political office don’t outweigh the costs.

"I will have entirely depleted my savings by the end of this. It’s the reality," says Amit Singh Babba, who is running for New York City Council in November.

"I have a mortgage; I have a car payment — these are all real demands on my finances." New York City councilmembers earn a salary of $148,500 per year.

Annual salaries for local elected officials can be as low as $15,500. At the national level, that figure can go up to $100,500.

"We need to pay these [local political] positions more so that you can get working-class and not independently wealthy people serving," says Amanda Litman, co-founder and executive director of the progressive political recruitment organization Run for Something. "Ultimately, that changes the outcome of the policies that we get."

Still, 54% of older millennials say they consider themselves politically active compared with 46% who don’t. That figure is higher for younger millennials (58%) and Gen Z (59%).